Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13 and as a superstition, it’s closely related to a fear of Friday the 13th. From hotel floors to horse stalls, people have a problem with the number 13. Rather than run from phobia, we’re going to embrace it with a list of the 13 most scary, chilling and downright eerie books to celebrate your Friday the 13th.
The Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris
If you’ve seen the movie, read this eerie book (it’s even better!). If you haven’t seen the movie, read the book first. FBI agent Clarice Starling is hunting for the serial killer Buffalo Bill but in order to get her man she needs to consult Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a former psychiatrist with a, um, unusual tastes and curiosities into the human mind.
Ghost Story – Peter Straub
For four aging men in the terror-stricken town of Milburn, New York, an act inadvertently carried out in their youth has come back to haunt them. Now they are about to learn what happens to those who believe they can bury the past — and get away with murder. From one of the most famous horror authors, Ghost Story will have you looking over your shoulder.
The Ruins – Scott Smith
Trapped in the Mexican jungle, a group of friends stumble upon a creeping horror unlike anything they could ever imagine. Two young couples are on a lazy Mexican vacation–sun-drenched days, drunken nights, making friends with fellow tourists. When the brother of one of those friends disappears, they decide to venture into the jungle to look for him. What started out as a fun day-trip slowly spirals into a nightmare when they find an ancient ruins site . . . and the terrifying presence that lurks there. Just in time for any trips to Mexico you may have been planning.
I Am Legend – Richard Matheson
Robert Neville may be the last living man on Earth . . . but he isn’t alone. An incurable plague has mutated every other man, woman and child into bloodthirsty, nocturnal creatures who are determined to destroy him. By day, he hunts, stalking the infected monstrosities through the abandoned ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for dawn. Good luck sleeping after reading this famous horror novel.
The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Writings – Charlotte Perkins Gilman
The highlight tale is The Yellow Wallpaper – a terrifying tale about a woman driven to the brink of insanity by the “rest cure” she is ordered to follow by her doctor to relieve her postpartum depression. Also includes a wide range of other short stories, but the madness of the yellow wallpaper will have you thinking twice about your redecorating plans.
Skeleton Crew – Stephen King
In this brilliant collection of horror stories, Stephen King takes readers down paths that only he could imagine. A supermarket becomes the place where humanity makes its last stand against destruction. A trip to the attic becomes a journey to hell. A woman in her car finds a scary shortcut to paradise. An idyllic lake harbors a bottomless evil. And a desert island is the scene of the most terrifying struggle for survival ever waged. Skeleton Crew includes the can’t-miss short horror stories The Mist, The Raft and The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands.
The Amityville Horror – Jay Anson
One of the most famous haunted house books of all time. Even if you haven’t read it, The Amityville Horror has been copied and parodied in countless books, movies and television shows.
On December 18, 1975, a young family of five moves into their new home, complete with finished basement, swimming pool, and boathouse. Twenty-eight days later, they flee in terror, leaving most of their belongings behind. George and Kathleen Lutz were aware that the house had been the scene of a mass murder but it seemed an ideal home for them and their three children, and the price was right. On the day they moved in, a priest invited to bless the house was told by an unseen voice to “Get out!” Alone in their new home, the Lutz family were embarking on the most terrifying experience of their lives. It began when their five-year-old daughter boasted of her new playmate, someone — or something — named “Jodie.” It ended in terror.
Winter Moon – Dead Koontz
Deepest night, Montana. An eerie light announces the arrival of a mysterious watcher in the woods. One solitary man begins a desperate battle against something unknown—and unknowable. Broad daylight, Los Angeles. An ordinary morning erupts in cataclysmic violence. A young family is shattered in a heartbeat. Fate will lead this family to an isolated Montana ranch, but their sanctuary will become their worst nightmare. For there they will face a chillingly ruthless enemy, from which no one—living or dead—is safe.
Rosemary’s Baby – Ira Levin
Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor husband move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and mostly elderly residents. Neighbors Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome the Woodhouses to the building, and despite Rosemary’s reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises that she keeps hearing, her husband takes a special shine to them. Shortly after her husband lands a plum Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant, and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare. As the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to suspect that the Castavets’ circle is not what it seems…
Room – Emma Donoghue
To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world. . . . It’s where he was born, it’s where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits. Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it’s the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack’s curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.
The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson
From the author of The Lottery, The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect choice for scary reading. The story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly mansion called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers-and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.
Perfume: The Story of a Murder – John Woods
Survivor, genius, perfumer, killer: this is Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. He is abandoned on the filthy streets of Paris as a child, but grows up to discover he has an extraordinary gift: a sense of smell more powerful than any other human’s. Soon, he is creating the most sublime fragrances in all the city. Yet there is one odor he cannot capture. It is exquisite, magical: the scent of a young girl. And to get it he must kill. And kill. And kill.
House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski
Is it real or not? You be the judge.
When House of Leaves was first passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command. Starting with an odd assortment of marginalized youth — musicians, tattoo artists, programmers, environmentalists, and adrenaline junkies — the eerie book eventually made its way into the hands of older generations.
Now, for the first time, this astonishing novel is made available in book form, complete with the original colored words, vertical footnotes, and newly added second and third appendices. The story remains unchanged, focusing on a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green were prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story — of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.